Saturday, February 6, 2016

REVIEW: The City of Ember

The City of Ember
Author: Jeanne DuPrau
Publisher: Random House
270 pages
YA, middle-grade fantasy

The City of Ember is surrounded by darkness. For 12 hours a day the darkness is pushed back from the city by lights, kept shining by a generator installed by the Builders. But supplies, including light bulbs, are beginning to run out. The city might soon be engulfed by total darkness.

Lina, and her friend Doon, have just come of age and have been assigned jobs. As they go about their daily routine, they begin to notice that things are going wrong. People are hoarding and stealing supplies. Power outages are becoming longer and more commonplace. City officials are corrupt. Then Lina finds a box containing a message that might be the key to saving the populace of Ember. They just have to figure out how to decipher it and get an entire city to listen to them....

City of Ember is book 1 of a series for middle-grade children. It was recommended to me by a 5th grader, and I'm glad she did! I have yet to come across a child who read this series and didn't love it. I have read some reviews that called the plot too simplistic and faulted DuPrau's writing. Adult readers must keep in mind that this book is NOT adult fiction. It is written for young readers.  DuPrau's story telling keeps the plot age appropriate, while depicting the city's dire predicament. She portrays the start of a slow destruction of society and safety without going too far. Readers who don't want to read a story that is appropriate to middle-grade children should probably stick to adult fiction. The intended audience for YA fiction is children, not adults.

My one complaint -- City of Ember ends on an extreme cliffhanger. And I don't have book 2 yet!!! :)

There is a movie version as well. I have not seen it yet, but have read good reviews. I will request it from Netflix and add to this review once I've seen it. I hope it follows the book closely and doesn't make any sweeping changes. The story is wonderful as it is.

I look forward to reading book 2. I'm headed to the bookshop tonight for an author signing event (Kevin Hearne - Iron Druid Series!) I'm definitely picking up The People of Sparks while I'm there!

My Rating: 8/10
Ages 10+

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